We walked across the bridge over the Rio Deva on Tuesday and walked into Asturias. This is the third of four regions of Spain that we will visit.
We stopped that night in the delightful village of Pendueles where our albergue was on the second and third stories above the bar. The albergue guests were pilgrims, but the bar was a spot for locals. A fun combination. The señora who managed the bar was lovely. She prepared a delicious vegetarian stew for dinner, did our laundry, and served fresh-squeezed orange juice with breakfast! One of the nicest stays of our trip so far.
On Wednesday we walked to the coastal town of Llanes and caught up with friends we’ve not seen in a few days. In all, we have walked 363 km of the 803 km that will take us to Santiago. And still, there are things that puzzle us.
Here are three things that continue to elude us:
1. Scallop shells are the symbol of the Camino and are intended to indicate the direction you travel. But which way does the shell point? Does the flat edge of the shell or the rounded edge point the way!?! There is no consistency in how they are placed, so you can only hope an arrow appears with the shell! (The principality of Asturias has decided that the flat side should point to Santiago, a symbol that all paths lead there. But even in Asturias, we have seen a few shells pointing the “wrong way.”)
2. What day is this? It’s hard to keep track of the day of the week, much less the actual date. Other pilgrims have shared that they are similarly challenged.
3. Is that an arrow? As we walk, we are always scouting for the yellow Camino arrows on stone walls and wooden fences to indicate a change of direction or just reassure us that we are still on the trail. We look ahead, “I think I see an arrow!” We get closer, “That’s not an arrow, it’s . . . lichen?” Yes, there is a lichen nearly the same yellow as the Camino arrows growing on wood and stone, and it’s fooled us more than once! Other pilgrims confirm that they have been caught off guard as well!
And there are lovely things that seem very straightforward!
1. Order the croissant. Or the homemade lemon cake, as Barry recently did. We have enjoyed every crumb of these treats.
2. Offer greetings to people along the way. Not just other pilgrims, but also the woman sweeping her porch, the man on his tractor, people walking their dogs. Their warm responses fill our hearts.
3. Pause for the cowbell symphony, especially in the early morning. There is a soft rhythm to this sound that calms the spirit.